Stranded driver fired first before being killed by Indiana officer

Southern Indiana investigators have released new details about a deadly shooting that involved a police officer, a stranded motorist and a volunteer firefighter.The deadly encounter happened Monday night near an elementary school in Palmyra in Harrison County. At the time, Indiana State Police were mum on many of the specific details until a news conference Wednesday.Harrison County Prosecutor Otto Schalk said the investigation is now closed due to the evidence received from state police. He determined that the Palmyra police officer involved in the incident was justified in his use of lethal force.Here’s what Schalk said investigators determined happened Monday night:The incident started out when the Palmyra reserve officer Zachary Holly responded to a call of a stranded motorist near the school off Highway 135.Background: 2 killed, officer hurt at scene of stranded car in southern IndianaOnce Holly made it there, he made contact with Justin Moore of Owensboro. Then arrived Jacob McClanahan, a volunteer firefighter, and one of his coworkers, both of whom tried to assist with traffic control at the scene.Schalk said Holly then learned that the car Moore was driving had allegedly run out of gas. The two then talked about what would happen to the vehicle, ultimately deciding that they were going to call a tow truck.During the encounter, Holly asked Moore if there were any weapons in his car, to which Moore said no. Schalk said Moore did have a knife with him, which Holly asked for him to put it back in the vehicle.That’s when the encounter escalated. Schalk said Moore reached into the vehicle and pulled out a shotgun, firing a round at Holly.Schalk said the shot narrowly missed Holly, and he and McClanahan then tried to retreat.That’s when Moore fired another round, fatally wounding McClanahan, Schalk said.Holly returned fire, striking Moore, who then died of his injuries at the scene.Schalk said that McClanahan’s coworker was in an adjacent yard when the shots were fired. He added that the entire encounter was caught not only on body camera footage, but also on Holly’s car dash camera and a nearby home’s door bell camera.That video evidence is what Schalk said his team has been reviewing to determine if Holly was justified in his use of lethal force.”Video footage leaves zero doubt as to what happened, and clearly showed that the officer was justified in his actions and decisions to use lethal force,” Schalk said.When asked about Moore’s motives, Schalk said it’s still unclear what set him off during the encounter. He said reviewing the video footage showed Moore agitated, but there was no indication that he was planning an ambush.Schalk also said there’s “no logical explanation” for why Moore was in Harrison County. Investigators said evidence points to the car having been out of gas, and Indiana State Police Sgt. Carey Huls said state police also determined that Moore spoke to neighbors asking for gas or gas money before the deadly encounter.”I have watched this body camera footage more times than id like to, trying to make sense of a senseless killing,” Schalk said. Schalk said it’s possible Moore wasn’t pleased that police showed up to help him or that he ultimately wanted to be left alone. He added that ultimately, there’s still no clear answer for why Moore decided to open fire.Huls added Wednesday that he knows there were a lot of questions from the start about the investigation, but that his team wanted to wait for more details before releasing more information.He said the autopsy recently completed helped them get “definitive answers.”Schalk extended his condolences to the family of McClanahan, adding that his “heart absolutely breaks” for what happened to the volunteer firefighter. He said he died doing what he was known for doing, and that’s helping others.Holly, who has been with the department for four years, had been on temporary leave pending the investigation. He received minor scratches during the incident and was checked out at a hospital.

Southern Indiana investigators have released new details about a deadly shooting that involved a police officer, a stranded motorist and a volunteer firefighter.

The deadly encounter happened Monday night near an elementary school in Palmyra in Harrison County. At the time, Indiana State Police were mum on many of the specific details until a news conference Wednesday.

Harrison County Prosecutor Otto Schalk said the investigation is now closed due to the evidence received from state police. He determined that the Palmyra police officer involved in the incident was justified in his use of lethal force.

Here’s what Schalk said investigators determined happened Monday night:

The incident started out when the Palmyra reserve officer Zachary Holly responded to a call of a stranded motorist near the school off Highway 135.

Background: 2 killed, officer hurt at scene of stranded car in southern Indiana

Once Holly made it there, he made contact with Justin Moore of Owensboro. Then arrived Jacob McClanahan, a volunteer firefighter, and one of his coworkers, both of whom tried to assist with traffic control at the scene.

Schalk said Holly then learned that the car Moore was driving had allegedly run out of gas. The two then talked about what would happen to the vehicle, ultimately deciding that they were going to call a tow truck.

During the encounter, Holly asked Moore if there were any weapons in his car, to which Moore said no. Schalk said Moore did have a knife with him, which Holly asked for him to put it back in the vehicle.

Harrison Township Fire Department

That’s when the encounter escalated. Schalk said Moore reached into the vehicle and pulled out a shotgun, firing a round at Holly.

Schalk said the shot narrowly missed Holly, and he and McClanahan then tried to retreat.

That’s when Moore fired another round, fatally wounding McClanahan, Schalk said.

Holly returned fire, striking Moore, who then died of his injuries at the scene.

Schalk said that McClanahan’s coworker was in an adjacent yard when the shots were fired. He added that the entire encounter was caught not only on body camera footage, but also on Holly’s car dash camera and a nearby home’s door bell camera.

That video evidence is what Schalk said his team has been reviewing to determine if Holly was justified in his use of lethal force.

“Video footage leaves zero doubt as to what happened, and clearly showed that the officer was justified in his actions and decisions to use lethal force,” Schalk said.

When asked about Moore’s motives, Schalk said it’s still unclear what set him off during the encounter. He said reviewing the video footage showed Moore agitated, but there was no indication that he was planning an ambush.

Schalk also said there’s “no logical explanation” for why Moore was in Harrison County. Investigators said evidence points to the car having been out of gas, and Indiana State Police Sgt. Carey Huls said state police also determined that Moore spoke to neighbors asking for gas or gas money before the deadly encounter.

“I have watched this body camera footage more times than id like to, trying to make sense of a senseless killing,” Schalk said.

Schalk said it’s possible Moore wasn’t pleased that police showed up to help him or that he ultimately wanted to be left alone. He added that ultimately, there’s still no clear answer for why Moore decided to open fire.

Huls added Wednesday that he knows there were a lot of questions from the start about the investigation, but that his team wanted to wait for more details before releasing more information.

He said the autopsy recently completed helped them get “definitive answers.”

Schalk extended his condolences to the family of McClanahan, adding that his “heart absolutely breaks” for what happened to the volunteer firefighter. He said he died doing what he was known for doing, and that’s helping others.

Holly, who has been with the department for four years, had been on temporary leave pending the investigation. He received minor scratches during the incident and was checked out at a hospital.

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